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On Stage This Week

Theater offerings, hand-picked for you

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Did somebody say forbidden love?

Memphis

The latest stop on Playhouse Square's Broadway Series is the Tony Award-hogging story of the underground dance clubs of 1950s Memphis and the lusty lads and lasses who rose out of them. The action centers around a white DJ, a black singer, and their quest to take their music to the world. And yeah, sure, to navigate the waters of forbidden inter-racial romance along the way too. Among the show's accolades: Best Musical, Best Original Score (by a former Bon Jovi hair farmer, no less), and Best Book (by Joe DiPietro, who also brought you I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change). Memphis is closing in on its 1,000th performance in New York, but you won't get so many chances here: It opens Tuesday, February 28, and runs through March 11, with shows daily except for March 5. Tickets range from $10 to $85 or so, depending on performance; get them at playhousesquare.org or by calling 216-241-6000. The Palace Theatre is at 1615 Euclid Ave. at Playhouse Square. — Erich BurnettAntebellum: Performed for only the second time in the U.S., this unconventionally engrossing romance merges tales of circa-1930s discrimination — racial, religious, sexual, and otherwise — amid the backdrops of an American plantation, a German concentration camp, the premiere of Gone With the Wind, and cabaret theaters. Confused yet? It's presented by Cleveland Public Theatre every Thursday through Sunday till March 10. Tickets are $10 to $25. CPT is at 6415 Detroit Ave.; call 216-231-2727 or visit cptonline.org.

The Bluest Eye: Based on the novel by Toni Morrison, this Karamu production explores the toll of racism. Through Feb. 26 at 2355 East 89th St. Tickets are $10 to $25 at 216-795-7077 or at karamuhouse.org.

Flanagan's Wake: Part improv, part scripted, this interactive Irish wake is back again at Kennedy's Theatre at Playhouse Square. Performances are set for Fridays and Saturdays through April 28. Tickets are $22 at 216-241-6000 or playhousesquare.org. Kennedy's is beneath the Ohio Theatre lobby at 1501 Euclid Ave.

Lower Ninth: Two men, a corpse, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina anchor this exploration of faith by Beau Willimon. Through Feb. 29 at Ensemble Theatre, 2843 Washington Blvd. in Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $10 to $20 at 216-321-2930, or online at ensemble-theatre.org.

Middletown: Amid the smallville charm of Middletown, there exists a lesser known and mysterious side. Dobama's production by Will Eno explores the culture of America's li'l communities. Prior to select shows, a Q&A and chat about the show will be offered. The action starts with a preview performance Thursday, February 23, and continues every Thursday through Sunday through March 18. Tickets for February 23 are $10, and the February 26 show is pay-what-you-can; a reception follows Friday's opening-night performance. Dobama Theatre is at 2340 Lee Rd. in Cleveland Heights; call 216-932-6838 or visit dobama.org.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles: Now through March 7, a Great Lakes Theater touring company will be performing free, one-hour adaptations of Agatha Christie's first novel in 21 schools, libraries, and community centers across the region. Find one at greatlakestheater.org/education/outreach-tour.

Radio Golf: August Wilson's Tony Award-nominated drama is set in a crime-ridden Pittsburgh neighborhood in 1997 that could just as well be the East Side of C-Town. See Christine Howey's review in this issue. Through March 4 at the Allen Theatre, 1407 Euclid Ave. at Playhouse Square. Tickets are $49 to $69, or $15 for students, available at 216-241-6000 or clevelandplayhouse.com.

Spring Awakening: In collaboration with Baldwin-Wallace College, Beck Center presents this Tony Award-winning rock musical exploring the sometimes-turbulent journey to adulthood. According to our noted critic, it's a "throbbing, pulsating jewel of theatrical passion ... as polished and sure-footed as any in recent memory." Through March 4 at 17801 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood. Tickets for mature audiences start at $15 at 216-521-2540 or at beckcenter.org.

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